The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water
Karl von Frisch
In last week’s blog about Ginger Meggs and the Blue-banded Bees, I quoted expert advice that it can be hard to tell the different Blue-banded species apart by fur colour alone. So when I saw two different male Blue-banded Bees a few days ago, I was unsure whether they were of the same species. First there was this one, with lush golden-brown fur on its thorax and good blue iridescence in its stripes.
Then on the plant next to it, there was another male with much paler thoracic fur:
I then found this old photo of a male with even paler fur, on the same patch of flowers:
Just to round it off, last November I saw this female with very little fur at all!
Which species does each bee belong to? None of them was co-operative enough to help by giving me a facial view, so I really can’t say. My guess is that the colour of the blue bands means that the first bee is Amegilla cingulata, but as for the others – who knows?
However one that I was sure of was that the insect below wasn’t another B-BB but a grasshopper relaxing in the same patch of flowers:
Regarding the third bee in last week’s post, I knew I had seen Ginger Meggs before—or at least another male Megachile maculariformis. This one was in the ti-tree in our front garden, and, like last week’s Meggsy, you can see the white male “paddle” on its foreleg:
In fact, there were a lot of other bees in that ti-tree, enough for another post another day!
My first post about Blue-banded Bees, with links to videos showing their buzz-pollination and grooming techniques, is here.